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Apple countersues Creative in patent dispute

It accuses the Singapore-based electronics maker of infringing on four patents related to its personal music players.

Faced with a patent infringement suit against the iPod and iPod Nano, Apple Computer countered this week with its own complaint against Creative Labs, which holds a distant second place in the personal media player market.

The suit was initiated in a Wisconsin federal court on May 15, the same day that the Singapore-based electronics maker said it had sued Apple in U.S. District Court in California, seeking an injunction against the iPod and damages.

In its complaint, Apple accuses the company of infringing on four of its patents related to user interfaces and icon displays for digital media players. The company is requesting monetary damages and an injunction barring continued use of its patents.

In a separate complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission filed this week, Creative is also seeking an injunction that would stop Apple from selling the iPod and iPod Nano in the United States.

Creative's complaints center on a patent describing a system for organizing music and songs used in its Zen MP3 player, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded it last August. The company's chief executive hinted a few months later that he planned to assert the company's patents against suspected infringers and seek royalties.

Apple declined to comment on Friday. Creative did not respond immediately to requests for comment.